This in-class activity is a fun way to show students how to apply basic concepts of coordination chemistry to complicated systems that appear in a recent issue of Inorganic Chemistry. After quickly reviewing types of ligands (monodentate, chelating, bridging), how we assign charge to ligands and metals in complexes, and the idea of coordination number, I took my class through a number of "real world" examples from the latest ASAP edition of Inorganic Chemistry. We skipped organometallic examples for now, but were able to talk about examples where ligands were both bridging and chelating and were able to work through some non-trivial examples of how to calculate charge. This activity is also related to a "Ligand of the Week" activity from a J. Chem Ed. article by Marion Cass from Carleton College (Cass, Marion E. J. Chem. Educ. 2004 81 1145).
- Students will gain appreciation for the diversity of inorganic coordination complexes in the primary literature
- Students will identify coordination numbers of metals and binding modes of ligands
- Students will use ligand structure to calculate the charges on ligands and metals in a complex.
Overhead projector, Computer, web-access
Some of the abstract graphics are hard to read and the resolution is not great on the overhead projector, so you may have to pick and choose examples based on what the class can see. It is a good chance to talk about the way that chemists use graphics, because some authors leave out charges or things that might help someone do this analysis on their abstract graphic. This year I used this activity as a lead up to their first literature discussion as a way to convince students that they have the skills to pick apart complicated structures.
15-30 minutes, depending how much class time you want to take!